She has a lived-in face and a voice which speaks of late night music and low lights, a soft husky catch of a voice which always has at its end the suggestion of a laugh. But she’s serious, on the level, is Ronnie.
What’s your level of pain, one to ten?”
Peter, you don’t have to be in pain. Right?”
‘Right,’ I mumble chastened by a life time’s practice in being stoic. Grateful to give in.
Ronnie sees the joke in things, Ronnie sees what’s serious in things. She’s a voice you lilt to the moment she enters the room. It’s like a gust of wind filling the space, the energy of an outside world from which we are all momentarily exiled. She carries it in, captures it and there’s some kind of exultation in how she expends it among us. Life force, breath of life.
A professional doing her job, doing the rounds, adding the unseen, unknown but deeply felt.
Ronnie the nurse: we four men in our separate beds in Room 13a, Ward 64 salute you!
Peter Wells is an award-winning fiction writer, essayist and writer/director in film. His memoir Dear Oliver (Massey University Press) is due to be released in April 2018. He has been documenting his experience of living with prostate cancer on Facebook, a process that he has found “remarkably therapeutic”. Read another extract from Peter’s Facebook project on Corpus: How did I get here?
Text and images © Peter Wells.